Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize-winning poet - obituary

Nobel laureate poet Derek Walcott dies at 87

News outlets in his native St Lucia report that Walcott passed away at his home about 7:30 am today after a prolonged illness.

The former poet laureate Andrew Motion paid tribute to "a wise and generous and brilliant man". His works have been proclaimed globally and he was a mentor to many local writers like Robert Lee and McDonald Dixon among others. "He will be remembered as a laureate of his particular world, who was also a laureate of the world in general".

Walcott was long the most prominent citizen of the eastern Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia and the region's most eminent poet. His poetry was supremely ambitious.

Walcott's father, who died when Derek was an infant, was a painter and a poet. Walcott greatly admired Cézanne and Giorgione and sought to learn from them.

The recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature, Walcott was known for his body of work including the epic poem Omeros (1990). He was of African, Dutch, and English descent. He became friends with other poets, including the Russian Joseph Brodsky, who lived and worked in the US after being exiled in the 1970s, and the Irish Seamus Heaney, who also taught in Boston. By the age of 19, Walcott had self-published two volumes, 25 Poems (1948), which he sold on street corners, and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949), both exhibited a wide range of influences, including T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound and William Shakespeare. He attended St. Mary's College in St. Lucia and the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

Related News: